For the first time in almost two decades Falkirk shoppers will no longer be able to pop in and shop in BHS.
The store, in the Callander Square Shopping Centre just off High Street, will close its doors for good on Sunday – one of the 30 branches of the stricken high street brand due to shut down throughout the UK this weekend.
The store plans to stay open until 4pm on Sunday and then it will be the end of an era for Falkirk, which has already seen the departure of WH Smith last year.
Store manager Katrina Dewar said: “We just want to thank the customers for their loyalty and support throughout the years. The staff in here is more like a family really – they’re just a good bunch of lassies, and one lad.”
The 20 members of staff in Falkirk are some of the 11,000 BHS employees who will be out of a job when administrators Duff and Phelps, who failed to find a buyer for the entire business, complete the closures by August 20.
The downfall of BHS came to a head when Sir Philip Green, who purchased the chain for £200 million in 2000, sold the already struggling business to bankrupt Dominic Chappell in March last year for £1 and it collapsed shortly afterwards.
Dave Gill, national officer of union Usdaw, said: “It is clear the rapid demise of the company is down to a handful of people who have been more interested in indulging in a game of corporate monopoly for their own personal gain.
“BHS staff have been worried about their future for over a year since the company was sold for £1 and more recently put in the hands of administrators. Now all stores will be closed by August 20, we are calling on the administrators to redouble their efforts in finding a buyer for the remaining stores and to secure as many jobs as possible.
“We also call on Sir Philip Green to honour the two promises he made to BHS staff as soon as possible after the company went into administration. Firstly, to offer employment within the Arcadia Group to the blameless, dedicated and loyal staff who suddenly find themselves unemployed.
“Secondly, to sort the pension scheme – and we await details of what he proposes. We also urge other high street retailers to look seriously at quickly re-employing the dedicated and experienced BHS workers who will all soon be unemployed.”